I have a box of shiny black markers. The color is brilliant. I like to draw. So when I am alone, I dim the lights of my room, pull the sleeves of my t-shirt all the way to my shoulders, and stand in front of the mirror. I spread my left arm out and poke at the loose skin. It jiggles. I do it again and then one more time. I mark the jiggling territory with a thick dotted line.
This is my canvas, I declare. My voice shakes a little.
I paint sunflowers on it.
I also swear to start a diet from tomorrow.
I am sitting outside the dietician’s office. The third one in the last three months. Ma hopes this one would work. I don’t want to stand on the weighing machine. The nurse calls me to the station.
A chill goes down my spine. I don’t want to look at the number. Ma’s eyes widen. They almost pop out. I want to cover myself in layers of blankets. On second thought, they would only increase the number. Maybe it is my clothes. They must add at least 5 kgs, right?
I let out a sigh.
I wish I could just peel some flesh off my body.
Fact: I don’t feel hungry for long if I sleep after eating.
I want to hurl my food out. I feel heavy. I always do.
I strip myself off all my clothes. My weighing machine is in the back of my cupboard. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I hold onto the slab and slowly let go. The LED scale stops blinking.
I click a picture of the number and send it to Ma.
Just two more kgs.
I hope she is proud of me.
Five years and seven dieticians later I am lying on the bathroom floor. My tears are washing my concealer away. I stick the back of my toothbrush down my throat. I feel better now.
It is still the same drill, Pull the weighing machine out—strip—stand—close—squint—open. The LED stops blinking.
I click a picture and send it to Ma.
I am tired. I don’t want to look at myself in the mirror.
But it is still better than the loose flesh.
You see, dark circles, scars, and cuts are easy to hide.
Congratulations. The beauty standards of society have finally been met!
My legs wobble, I twist my foot and fall to the ground.
My stomach rumbles.
A tear rolls down my cheek.
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